Motorpsycho: Supersonic Scientists: A Young Person’s Guide

First-ever anthology from Norwegian psychonauts.

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Ahead of a new studio album in early 2016, what better way to toast Motorpsycho’s 25th anniversary than with a spanking compendium of their best bits.

That said, attempting to solidify such a back catalogue onto just two discs was always going to be an awkward task, bearing in mind that Norway’s finest have dabbled in everything from country to jazz to metal, and various stations in between. And while the approach here is sensibly democratic (opting to make room for one song from each studio album, more or less), some tunes simply demand to be included.

1998’s Vortex Surfer is a given, a heaving proggy epic that builds to a screeching crescendo. And if you ever wondered how Graham Nash would sound fronting a metal band, then the sublime Cloudwalker, complete with suitably towering chorus, should scratch that itch.

The mutability of Motorpsycho music has meant that it’s existed, for the most part at least, outside of the vagaries of fashion, though it’s occasionally possible to feel the wind of the times. The grungey howl of 1993’s Nothing To Say, for instance, carries a clear imprint of Nirvana.

At their best they create a fluid dialogue of riff-rock, prog and psychedelia, as on the brilliantly wiggy Psychonaut or the digressive ramble that is The Other Fool, which eventually settles into a weird kind of ambience during which singer Bent Sæther suggests getting high and chilling out to Pink Floyd. Newcomers to all things Motorpsycho could do much worse than start right here.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.